Chequers and Coombe Hill Circular Walk - partly along The Ridgeway Path.
An 8.5 miles/14km walk in Buckinghamshire with several steep climbs, beautiful woods and really excellent views of the English countryside.
The walk starts from a laybye which is just a few 100 yards from Great Kimble Church on the A4010 Princes Risborough to Aylesbury road - put HP17 0XS into googlemaps or onto your car navigator. This walk is quite straightforward as about half of the route simply follows the Ridgeway National Trail (always signposted and has an "acorn" symbol) - however a map is always useful and the relevant one is O.S.
Explorer 181 Chiltern Hills North.
From the laybye go back past the thatched cottage and then turn right up what is initially a narrow tarmac'd road. This goes past the cottage (now on the right) and shortly the surface changes to a stone and grass surfaced proper track - it does climb steeply at first but this eases after a while. The track is lined with some trees as well as quite high undergrowth and is very pleasant to walk up. After a while the track passes a small metal gate on the left and then narrows into a path - this
continues to climb to then reach where The Ridgeway Trail comes in from the right. Just a little further on up turn left onto The Ridgeway (clearly signposted) - from here the way is going to be on the Trail for quite some distance. Continue along now through open ground (Cradle Footpath) but with fabulous views of the countryside - beautiful grasses, trees and gorse plus in The Spring many buttercups and other wild flowers. Eventually the path reaches a fence and gate - go through the gate and continue ahead with the way aiming to the gates
at the far right hand corner of the field.
Once across the field and then through the gate, Maple Wood is on the right and the area to the left really opens up - with really good views of Chequers (probably the best views you can get from the ground
) and high above the grassy slopes of Coombe Hill and it's tall monument. The path is quite wide as it goes along past Chequers - however if the weather has been wet this part of the walk can be extremely muddy. Eventually the path arrives at a gate on the left - take this and walk on down the field. Go through gates either side of one of
Chequer's main entrance driveway and keep ahead to then arrive at the Missenden Road.
A little about Chequers (Chequers Court) and the immediate area plus where to get the best view. Located near to Ellesborough, Chequers is the private country house retreat which since 1921 is used from time to time by the current Prime Minister of the U.K. For anyone not doing the walk it may be of interest that there is limited parking as the Missenden Road takes a sharp turn (this is
at the end of a narrow lane located more or less at HP17 0UT). From here therefore it is just a short walk across the road and onto The Ridgeway over the fields and then turn right at the wood edge for about 500 or so yards to get the view.
From the monument turn right now heading east quite easily down towards Bascombe Hill and Wendover. The path goes between trees after a while and then drops sharply down a few feet to a sunken cross path. (an option here to shorten this walk is to turn left down the sunken path - this will take you steeply down an even more sunken bridleway to Ellesborough Road with Ellesborough Golf Club opposite - see ***
below for the continuation from there.)
Go ahead to continue on down towards Wendover - again this offers really good views including the town and also the slopes of Wendover Woods rising behind it.
There are several paths around - basically stay in the same direction but keep to the left-hand side i.e. The Ridgeway - this drops quite steeply to a shingle pit, turn left above the pit on a small path which will shortly take you to another path by small gate. Go through the gate and follow this nice path which heads back towards Butlers Cross i.e. along the bottom of Bascombe Hill.
This undulating path ends up passing by the stables at Hill End Farm - keep ahead following the footpath signs then climb up a narrow enclosed path to where steps take you down onto a sunken bridleway. Turn right down this to almost reach the Ellesborough Road near Butlers Cross ***
(opposite Ellesborough Golf Club). Turn sharp left i.e. through a gate onto a track which then goes back along the bottom of Coombe Hill and with golf course greens on the right. After a while the track goes into a more open area for a while and another view of the monument can be seen high above on
the left - the track narrows into a wide path and eventually arrives at a gate in front of a cross track. Turn right to walk on down to the Missenden Road. Turn right and walk along on the grass verge for around 150 yards and spot a path on the opposite side of the road going into a field - do take care crossing this road as cars tend to drive quickly at times. Follow the path across the field to arrive at a hedgerow and a track - turn right down to Ellesborough Road - Ellesborough's St. Peters and St. Paul's Church is opposite.
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